European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 111, Issue 10, pp 2525–2533 | Cite as

Combined effects of low-intensity blood flow restriction training and high-intensity resistance training on muscle strength and size

  • Tomohiro Yasuda
  • Riki Ogasawara
  • Mikako Sakamaki
  • Hayao Ozaki
  • Yoshiaki Sato
  • Takashi Abe
Original Article


We investigated the combined effect of low-intensity blood flow restriction and high-intensity resistance training on muscle adaptation. Forty young men (aged 22–32 years) were randomly divided into four groups of ten subjects each: high-intensity resistance training (HI-RT, 75% of one repetition maximum [1-RM]), low-intensity resistance training with blood flow restriction (LI-BFR, 30% 1-RM), combined HI-RT and LI-BFR (CB-RT, twice-weekly LI-BFR and once-weekly HI-RT), and nontraining control (CON). Three training groups performed bench press exercises 3 days/week for 6 weeks. During LI-BFR training sessions, subjects wore pressure cuffs on both arms that were inflated to 100–160 mmHg. Increases in 1-RM were similar in the HI-RT (19.9%) and CB-RT (15.3%) groups and lower in the LI-BFR group (8.7%, p < 0.05). Maximal isometric elbow extension (MVC) increased in the HI-RT (11.3%) and CB-RT (6.6%) groups; there was no change in the LI-BFR group (−0.2%). The cross-sectional area (CSA) of the triceps brachii (TB) increased (p < 0.05) in the HI-RT (8.6%), CB-RT (7.2%), and LI-BFR (4.4%) groups. The change in relative isometric strength (MVC divided by TB CSA) was greater (p < 0.05) in the HI-RT group (3.3%) than in the LI-BFR (−3.5%) and CON (−0.1%) groups. Following training, relative dynamic strength (1-RM divided by TB CSA) was increased (p < 0.05) by 10.5% in the HI-RT group and 6.7% in the CB-RT group. None of the variables in the CON group changed. Our results show that low-intensity resistance training with BFR-induced functional muscle adaptations is improved by combining it with HI-RT.


Vascular occlusion Neural adaptation Muscle hypertrophy Muscle strength 



Our appreciation is extended to the students who participated in this study. We also thank Masato Sugaya for his assistance in both the testing and training phases of this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tomohiro Yasuda
    • 1
  • Riki Ogasawara
    • 1
  • Mikako Sakamaki
    • 1
  • Hayao Ozaki
    • 1
  • Yoshiaki Sato
    • 1
  • Takashi Abe
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Human and Engineered Environmental Studies, Graduate School of Frontier SciencesThe University of TokyoKashiwaJapan

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